Like many I woke up 2 days ago to the first frost, wondering where car window scraper has been hiding since last winter – I am still looking!  But every icy cloud has a silver lining. First frost is the perfect excuse for indulging in some serious hot chocolate. When I say serious, I mean the sort that is so rich and so thick that it is almost a dessert in itself.

There are a few secrets to making the best hot chocolate, starting with real chocolate flake, emulsifying the milk and chocolate and finally, the best kept secret, to let it rest for several hours and reheat. This last step will completely change the texture of the hot chocolate by allowing the chocolate to crystallise into a much thicker drink. Here is my recipe.

Once you try it, you will never settle for another hot chocolate. 

Hot chocolate
200ml of milk 
40ml of cream 
1 heaped table spoon of sugar, pinch of salt
40g of chocolate flakes
Put the flakes into a bowl. Heat all the other ingredients to about 80 degrees. 
Carefully mix some of the hot milk mix with the chocolate flakes bit by bit by dripping the hot mix onto the flakes (not the opposite) until if forms a shiny paste.
You can then add the hot milk faster. 

Most importantly, let it cool uncovered for a few hours or overnight, sieve and reheat to serve. 
Now the flavour adventure can begin. From coffee to tonka beans, festive biscuit butter or a cheeky shot of booze, these hot chocolates will make you travel a world of flavours from your favourite chilling spot. 
  • Pick me up hot chocolate: drop some of your favourite espresso in your hot chocolate.
  • Italian hot chocolate: break some tonka beans and leave them in your sugar jar to flavour the sugar for several days. Use that sugar in the hot chocolate recipe and top up with a shot of Amaretto.
  • Festive hot chocolate: before you pour hot milk, add to the flakes a generous heaped spoon of Lotus biscuit butter.
  • Nutty hot chocolate: lightly roast some hazelnuts and grind them into a paste (i use a Vitamix),  add a generous spoon of this pure hazelnut paste to the flakes before pouring the hot milk mix.
  • Cuban hot chocolate: add fresh mint leaves to the milk mix, heat and sieve. Top the hot chocolate with a shot of Rum.
Have a delicioulsy creative week,
Miss Anne, Chief Chocolate Adventurer
Miss Anne

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